Mauke and Mangaia have been identfied as Key Biodiversity Areas.
TIS Programme Manager Jacqui Evans travelled to the two islands to raise awareness in the community about the importance, to the world of their unique and threatened species.
Jacqui travelled to Mangaia 30 November-2 December 2011where the Island Secretary organised a meeting of the Island Council.
"They were really interested in the fact that they had species of global significance," says Jacqui.
"They loved the photos of each species which came from the Cook Islands Natural Heritage database. These photos helped to stimulate discussion about where species were seen, what their local names were etc." adds Jacqui.
Mangaia is also identified as an Important Bird Area because of it's endemic Kingfisher, the Tanga'eo (Todramphus ruficollaris), the Cook Islands Warbler (Acrocephalus kerearako) and because the Bristle Thighed Curlew (Numenius tahitiensis) visits the island.
Mangaia is 5,200 hectares and is an upraised island with encircling limestone cliffs.
Jacqui says the community was left to decide what they wanted to do about their island's important status.
"I told them that it is up to them if they want to do conservation work there, but we could help them if they wanted to go ahead. I left them to think about it." says Jacqui.
Jacqui also travelled to Mauke 16-19 December 2011 where the Island Secretary and Mayor organised a community meeting.
Mangaia has nine terrestrial species of global importance and four marine species.
Mauke has six terrestrial species of global importance.
TIS work on IBAs and KBAs is supported by the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF).
CEPF is a joint initiative of l’Agence Francaise de Developpement, Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation. The focus of CEPF is the conservation of threatened species and other globally important species.
Participants at the Mauke Community Meeting on IBAs and KBAs